Hamilton’s playoff drought

March 20, 2017

It’s been said that good things come to those who wait. Well, after an absence of a mere 26 years, there will be an Ontario Hockey League playoff game in Hamilton next week.

Hamilton Bulldogs will meet the Kingston Frontenacs in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-seven set are slated for Kingston this week before the series shifts to Hamilton for Games 3 and 4 next week.

The Bulldogs missed the playoffs last season — their first in Hamilton — following the relocation of the Belleville Bulls to the Steel City.

The OHL had returned to Hamilton for the 2015-2016 season for the first time since the Dukes of Hamilton departed to become the Guelph Storm in 1991.

The Dukes made the OHL playoffs in 1990-1991 — their second of only two seasons in Hamilton — but were swept by the Soo Greyhounds in the first round.

The last Hamilton-based OHL team to actually win a playoff game — and a playoff series — was back in 1987-1988. That’s when the Hamilton Steelhawks, coached by the late Bill LaForge, ousted the favoured London Knights four games to two in the second round of the playoffs.

The Steelhawks were then swept by the Windsor Spitfires in the third round of the playoffs and the franchise shifted from Hamilton to become the Niagara Falls Thunder effective the 1988-1989 season.

When the Steelhawks were winning playoff games back in 1988, current Bulldogs general manager Steve Staois was a 14-year old kid growing up and playing minor hockey in Hamilton.

Two years later, in 1990, Staios would go on to become a first-round draft pick of — ironically — the Niagara Falls Thunder, formerly the Hamilton Steelhawks.

What you think about “Hamilton’s playoff drought”

  1. I remember the old Bill Laforge era out of Copps Coliseum. Probably one of the toughest Major Junior teams of all time. With the likes of Shayne Corson, Dennis Vial, Mike Ware, Kirk Tomliinson, Troy Crowder, Guy Girouard, just to name a few. There were a lot of guys who came down with the ‘ Hamilton Flu’ in those days!

  2. As the Wolves are back in the O.H.L. Playoffs so to are Hamilton as RR mentions and the Fans down in Hamilton get to listen to the best Play By Play man in the biz Stu Kernan!

  3. Sudburys loss was Hamiltons gain that is for sure. “Stew-wee”! is defanitly some one that we miss.
    Having said that: ” WOO HOO WOLVES / BOO HOO BULLDOGS! ”

  4. Hi Randy – Thanks for sharing this as well as the other Article’s. I have been a follower of Junior Hockey here in Hamilton since Dale McCourt was playing for the old Red Wings then of course the Fincups. Thanks from one Old Timer to another one . I have been out to a few games of the Bull Dogs this Season and I still like a the Hockey which is nice and fast. It would be nice to see them “drop the mitts” once a in a while however , the game has changed. I do plan on going to a Bull Dogs play off game , yes perhaps they will end the “drought” which you speak of. I see that Mark Locken has made a comment , who was a good goalie in his days with the Fincups , along with Allan Jensen and Greg Redquist.

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